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6-27-04 - we meet up with Capt. Jim, Little King and the gang at the fuel dock. Lucky Dog is our vessel for this trip.

Much of the afternoon was spent watching how to set different trolling rigs...I learned a lot. But eventually we all just started sitting, waiting and enjoying the day.

The rod right behind Victor (I hope that's your name!) went off..proximity deems this his fish!

A fair fight and Capt. Jim is ready for the net..

Time to bring that fish aboard!

Capt. Jim and one more successfully boated fish.

Capt. Jim shows off a clean, shiny Little King (salmon)!

Victor and his little king! Victor I gotta teach you how to hold a fish for a picture ;)

While not a "fast" day, the ride and company were enjoyable!

After hooking into this fish, I decided Bart has never gotten a fish out trolling before...it's HIS turn to fight a fish.

Little King is in position and Bart learns how to boat a fish on a Dipsy Diver.

So I take 50% credit for this fish as I noticed the rod go off, I got the fish on the rod..so this is Chromeseeker's and MY first Lake Trout!

Chromseeker and our laker!

A good closeup of that first in a lifetime lake trout.

One last look at this pretty fish!

And we're back to waiting...and enjoying the boat ride - at least we're smiling in this shot ;)

One last hookup for the day...but the fish didn't follow through!

6-27-04 - Lucky Dog 'n Lakers, Little King and a Little King!

Waters Fished: Lake Michigan (trolling out of North Point, IL)
Fish Caught: 2/3 aggregate
Outing Date: 6-27-04
Weather: Just another beautiful day
Air Temp: 70's
Water Temp: low 60's at the surface
Water Level: normal
Water Color: clear, visibility 6'+
Fish Species: Chinook Salmon, Lake Trout
Pattern Fished: Trolling Spoons and flies with Dodgers
Pattern Color: Seems like green was what worked for us
Fishing Quality: a slow day

What can I say to start off...well...I caught a post on Chicago Land Fishing (CLF) that there was a very affordable pair of slots on a makeup charter outing with Little King and Capt. Jim of Lucky Dog Charters. I knew Chromeseeker had been itchin' to get out on a big boat and do some trolling, so I snapped up this opportunity immediately. Consider it a lucky find..I'm not what you'd call a "regular" on CLF!

So Sunday morning I'm up in the UP...it's 5:00 AM when Spin gets me up and we start the drive back to Fon Du Lac...after that I'm on my own to get down to North Point Marina in IL. I stink, but somehow I managed to make good time, stop at Lake Como for a shower, and headed on over.

I got there right after 1:00 PM...Bart was stuck in traffic was was another one of our crew, who had left O'Hare only an hour before! Parking at North Point was insane...there's just one small lot that's public. Well, we found a spot in the grass and met back up with the Lucky Dog at the fuel pier.

Finally, it's time to get on the water. After getting out of the harbor Little King started rigging lines...talk about an education. Truthfully it is, in some respects, easier than you think. Conversely, if you didn't watch someone else run 12+ rods simultaneously, you'd have a hard time figuring it out yourself.

So we ended up running 3 downriggers, 1 with a slider (kinda like fishin' a dropper when fly fishing). 4 planer boards, a couple dipsey rigs, a lead core, one rod had wire, basically the entire gamut of trolling methods was out there. Our offerings consisted of spoons and flies, with and without dodgers / flashers.

And that about sums it up for MUCH of the afternoon. Fishing on the big pond had been slow for several days...the morning outing had been better, I think 3 fish...or was it 8? Some kings and some lake trout. While it seems as though most trollers dislike lake trout (I've heard them called logs, wet rags etc...) I was secretly hoping we'd get one...I've never seen a live lake trout before.

Well, it wasn't even close to a limit. The chatter over the radio was pretty funny too..NO ONE was really having any success. Every so often I'd glance over at the huge LCD monitor that displayed fish-finder readings...you'd see these huge marks on the screen; no doubt gamefish, and you could even see the underwater wakes cause by the downrigger balls. You'd see these lines going right through the mark that represented the fish, and yet nothing ever happened.

But then again, something did happen. We had been rerigging some of the lines when one of the guys, I think his name was Victor, was just sitting in the back corner of the deck. All of a sudden the rod immediately behind him popped up and started throbbing...I think it was Capt. Jim who noticed it first and shouted "FISH FISH"!

Victor wheeled around and grabbed the rod. A decent fight ensued; it lasted long enough to get several pics. When it was all said and done, there was Capt. Jim holding a nice clean silver King Salmon.

And then we were back to milling about, watching the rods, chatting, getting in and out of the sun as need be. As the afternoon passed on, the clouds thickened and the air cooled....perhaps this would change things?

YES, but not really. I was standing roughly in the same corner that Victor had been standing in when out of the corner of my eye I saw one of the rods start thumping. Instinctively I grabbed the rod and reeled down...sure enough there was a fish. I looked around and noticed Chromeseeker just standing there....I shouted to Bart to come get this rod..."you've never gotten a fish trolling before, so this is YOUR fight!"

Bart did it like a pro...didn't pump much (you're not supposed to pump at all 'cause the boat is already putting on constant pressure)...when the fish came to surface the diver was just about at the rod tip...Little King instructed Bart that to bring in the remaining line he'd have to walk back. No problem...our second fish came to the boat.

And wouldn't you know it...it's a LAKE TROUT. My first Lake Trout, Bart's first Lake Trout, I personally couldn't have asked for a better turn of events. I only hoped more of the guys would get a shot at some action.

Back to trolling, drinking, munching, chatting and enjoying the afternoon. At times we really couldn't see the shoreline. Arguably this is every bit as fun as a deep sea charter, and a heck of a lot more affordable and closer!

Well, while chatting, I saw another rod go off behind me. We had talked about "the order" earlier in the day...aka. who would get the first fish, second fish etc...it seems nothing was decided. So it ended up being whoever was closest to the rod, they take it. I think that's actually a pretty fair way to do it.

The third hit unfortunately didn't materialize into a fish. Things continued to get darker, our time was running out, so we got back to the harbor and parted ways after 6:00 or so.

So first, I owe everyone an apology as some folks already know, I suck with names, especially since we had both real and CLF names to deal with! Second, I owe you all a big thanks...I know it wasn't an action packed outing but hey, I understand, that's fishing. In my opinion it was a good trip, I recommend it. Afterall, a charter is about more than just the fishing. It's spending time on the water, in this case with a fantastic Captain and First Mate, on a spacious boat, with enjoyable company for the afternoon. Who cares if we caught a darn thing or not (but, hee hee, I got my first Laker!!!)

So if you're one of those IL folks who refused to buy a WI license, I can't think of a better Charter Capt. to head out with than Capt. Jim & Lucky Dog. Generous, willing to teach, fun even when the fishin' isn't happening...when I redo the links page and add in charters for IL he's currently the only one I'll be putting in there (afterall, I really don't link to folks I don't know / can't recommend)! In other words, Lucky Dog Charters is linkworthy in my book! Thanks yet again Capt. Jim and Little King!

And just think...there's still plenty of time to troll again this year... ;)

  MP 

 

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